The times are changing...

Lately it seems like my life has been a whirlwind.  I finalized a plan a few weeks ago to take a trip again to the creation museum in Cincinnati, Ohio and film a promo dvd for a buddy of mine named Rick Teepen who does a snakes alive program for the museum as well as other places.  The week we were to leave I got pulled aside by the pastor I used to work for and was essentially told that my department was downsizing and essentially my position was being dissolved.  I had been praying for months, if not closer to a couple years that the Lord would either open this job working for church up to a full time position that would help financially support my family or that the Lord would close the door completely so we would be free to leave the and pursue what God is calling Jess and I to do.  So God spoke.  My part time position at the church was cutting the budget and instead of waiting around to be let go I decided this was enough of a sign for me and I went ahead and put in my notice.  For the first time in a long time I was really encouraged that I was finally going to be stepping into the direction of full time ministry.  I know the Lord has called me to preach the gospel for a living and to do so in a unique way.  I kept going back to promises I had heard from God and words I had received from men of God and for the first time in a long time it all seemed to be lining up.  Then came the attacks.  

A few days passed and the realization of the fact that I was essentially in a faith free fall again really hit me like a ton of bricks.  The positive veneer on the surface was starting to crack and it became somewhat of a panic emotionally for me.  I was trying to stay very strong for Jess and speak faith into the darkness although it seemed like merely wishful thinking and a denial of the reality that we were already struggling financially and now times are changing for the worse it seemed.  With all of that weighing very heavily on my mind as I was preparing to leave for my trip to Cincinnati I got a phone call from my sister around 6:30 am.  In my family a phone call before 9 am never means anything good and I thought she may have been sending me off for my trip but I was also a bit guarded.  And then she dropped the news.  My step-brother, Michael, tragically and accidentally died a few hours before I got the call.  My wife heard my phone ring and then rounded the corner to see me sobbing.  Im not one to cry when others are around typically but the shock of this news hit me so hard that I had no choice but to weep for the loss of my brother.  I was in denial and honestly had to swallow it back.  I had a mission to complete and a job to do and a dear friend of mine whom I have been mentoring was almost to my house to accompany me on our trip.

 

The 8 hour drive there and back flew by, I only broke down in tears a couple times when no one was looking, the museum was great and Rick and his wife Jenny were so sweet to us.  It was a great trip and God was all in it.  We went to the funeral on Monday and it was good to hear about all that my step brother had done with his short life.  The next few days were kind of a blur at work and that following weekend Michael Whitaker and I had our first book signing for our children's book "The Not So Ordinary Journey Of Todd The Toad."  We sold 37 books that day and were met by friends, family and other people wanting to hang out and get the book.  It was a great experience.  I worked my final week at the church the next week and punched out for the last time on Thursday.  Whew.  Here we are.  Faith free falling like crazy and knowing the Lord will catch me.  Michael and I had another book signing yesterday and even though we only sold 2 books it was a great day filled with giggling like middle school kids again and drawing pictures, scheming on new book ideas and just having really good time together.  Ministry isn't what you're doing it's who you are and who your with I have come to decide.  It's taking advantage of the small things and loving the Lord despite of how things look on the surface.  I could be really down or upset that as of Monday I will not have a "job" to go to but the thing is, God called me to ministry and so far its looking like the months of September and October will be filled with ministry opportunities that will not only provide for our needs financially but will exceed our needs.  So if this faith journey means trusting God more and walking deeper in his love and grace, count me in.

I am excited about the things to come.  I am excited about the opportunities to do ministry as well as opportunities to be a tent maker like Paul.  I am passionate about the Lord, his creatures, and his people and he somehow has the grace to let me use these things for his purpose.  I am beyond thrilled that I get to serve a God that allows me to pastor in my videos and books, he allows me to speak into lives of others and allows others to speak into mine.  I'm thankful that I get to be the modern day equivalent to a circuit riding preacher and most of all I'm excited about knowing I am deeply loved by our heavenly father.  So when it starts to look grim, gray or dark I will know that he that began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it and he will never leave nor forsake me.  Amen.